While the weather starts to get cooler in Australia and we’re donning our jackets and scarves (although not if you live in Brisbane!), our American neighbours are embracing summer time. Their magazines are sharing what to do to get ‘bikini ready’ and how to get the best tan in time for hitting the water.
Unfortunately, so are the kids’ magazines, with one magazine, Discovery Girls, printing a story titled ‘Which Suit Best Suits You”. The editorial had descriptions that included, “If you’re curvy up top”, or “If you’re round in the middle!”, detailing the appropriate swimsuits for a young girl’s shape.
On closer research, the popular magazine is created by girls for girls ages 8 and up.
There is something wrong with this picture!
Why are 8-year-olds worried about what they look like in a bathing suit?
What’s more disturbing is that the article went past the publisher, Catherine Lee, and who approved it for publishing.
When the pages were posted on Facebook, Lee wrote an apology letter on the magazine’s Facebook page, thanking people for complaining about the body-shaming editorial.
Sadly, the apology doesn’t help the young girls who read it and who have suddenly became aware that their swimsuit may not be ‘right’ for their body. Or that their body may not be ‘ready’ for swimming.
As one writer for Popsugar put it:
“Each time another magazine, show, brand, or entity puts out junk like “How to Choose Bathing Suits For Their Body Type” to 8-year-old girls, we are putting another girl at risk for eating disorders, body shame, low self-esteem, and pain.”
Too right. We agree!
In Australia, parents do battle on finding appropriate clothing for their kids when t-shirts have inappropriate slogans or the short shorts for girls could be taken for underpants as they are so short.
Being a mum to three girls myself, I’m aware about how I talk about my appearance in front of my girls and I’m thankful they aren’t at a stage of flipping through a magazine just yet.
But it’s becoming clear that as standards change with what is deemed appropriate in the media, I will need to be more vigilant about what my girls read when it comes to their appearance. And instill in them enough confidence to know that their bodies are perfect just as they are.
How would you have reacted if you found a magazine telling your young daughter how to dress for her shape? Are our 8-year-old girls becoming more aware about body issues and being concerned about their appearance? How do we manage this or counteract it as parents? Can we?